Orange Cats in My Life – Part IV: Those that have just broken the flower vase…


… all animals are divided into one of 14 categories:
– Those that belong to the emperor
– Embalmed ones
– Those that are trained
– Suckling pigs
– Mermaids (or Sirens)
– Fabulous ones
– Stray dogs
-Those that are included in this classification
– Those that tremble as if they were mad
– Innumerable ones
– Those drawn with a very fine camel hair brush
– Et cetera
– Those that have just broken the flower vase
– Those that, at a distance, resemble flies
J. L. Borges, Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge

I do not like kittens. It’s not that I have a dislike for them but I don’t get that well-studied feeling of cuteness overload when I see kittens in real life or on pictures. I love mature cats. So when a new management of the complex where we lived changed the rules allowing small pets, on our trip to the shelter we intended to offer our home to a 1-2 year old cat. The only other requirement I had at the time was that it had to be a male cat.

All cats we saw that day were either much older or females. But I think we looked like people who were seriously going to get a cat so shelter workers kept showing us all the cats they had there not paying attention to my insistent “young but adult male cat.” And then we saw Him.

Four months old, playful and not in the least shy kitten had no objections to us picking him up and petting. And he was white and orange and resembled a little our first cat (see Part I: Found and Lost). And even his name on the cage’s label – Rusty – was reminiscent of that first cat’s name Rizhik (not surprisingly since words used in both languages were intended to describe the exterior). We just couldn’t leave without him.

Rusty at 5 months

When we got home, I told Rusty another requirement I had in mind: I would not have a cat who doesn’t like to be petted or sit on my lap. I even threatened to take him back to the shelter if he decides to be too independent. Either he took the warning very seriously or we both just lucked out but whenever I sit down Rusty almost always comes to me.

“Medium hair orange tabby” it says in his official documents. Judging by his look and behavior there was a Maine Coon climbing Rusty’s family tree at some point. And nine out of every twelve months in the year I really want to invite the kind person who thought of that “medium hair” joke. Rusty’s hair is everywhere!

Medium hair orange tabby

Even though from the beginning we were feeding him cat food, he doesn’t discriminate: cat food, human food – food is food – and it never stays in his bowl for longer than 2-3 minutes. And he never stops foraging around hoping to find anything edible we left unattended. Rusty is so strongly food-motivated that he would do tricks for treats: “Sit“, “(another) Paw!“, “Down“, “Up“, “Jump“. Also we suspect that eating for him is a social interaction as well: both my vSO and I love fruits and Rusty also developed taste for some of them. He loves (as in actually tries to pry them from my hands) oranges, peaches and apricots.

Rusty and Orange

Before we got Rusty, my vSO and I had two favorite Dunoon mugs (different shapes but both with cats on them). For years, unless we had guests over, we would drink everything only from those mugs. While I managed to train Rusty in many areas (for example, not to wake us up in the morning) there are rules that he refuses to follow. Rusty knows that he’s not allowed to be on counters and tables but every time he hopes to find there something to eat or wants to annoy us because he thinks we’re withholding food beyond the allowed schedule, he keeps jumping to where he’s not  supposed to be and then plays “dead weight” when we try to remove him. My favorite mug has become a casualty in one of those battles. Since I couldn’t replace it (retired pattern) my vSO out of solidarity (and not to lose it as well, I guess) retired his mug into a cupboard.

Rusty and the Broken Mug

Same as my other favorite cat Garfield (see Part II: Grin without a Cat), Rusty doesn’t like spiders. He hunts them and eats them – if he can get to them and if they are not too yucky. Otherwise he attracts our attention to them meowing loudly and gets a treat for each spider. Rusty also gets a treat for each “Awww…” (see Part III: Love from the First ‘Awww…’) or other expression of admiration from my readers for his appearances in my perfume pictures.

Since the age they told us when we adopted Rusty was approximate, we made a decision that he would be our “Christmas cat” and we celebrate his birthday on Christmas Eve. This year he turned five. As a birthday gift he got a new cat bed. I was afraid he wouldn’t like it and had an elaborate plan of pretending it was something I brought for myself to sit on… I didn’t get a chance to play it out: Rusty loved it immediately and he slept in it through almost the whole day.

Rusty in His New Bed

My vSO found a back-up for his mug under the Christmas tree so his favorite mug came back from the retirement. And this concludes the Orange Cats in My Life series. In January I will go back to my kind of perfume-related posts with Year 2013 Entertaining Statistics.

Happy New Year to all my friends and readers!

Happy New Year 2014


Images: my own


46 thoughts on “Orange Cats in My Life – Part IV: Those that have just broken the flower vase…

  1. Dear Undina, that’s a one great story about Rusty and lovely piece to your “orange cats in my life” series.
    Tell me – on the 1st picture is it also Rusty? If so, how old was he then? The cat looks so young there.
    My fave photo in this post is the 2nd, Rusty looks so fluffy and regal there, like a king. And I love his green eyes. And a feather-duster tail.

    Happy New Year to both of you Undina and Rusty!


    • Thank you, Lucas. Rusty on that picture was probably about five months old – soon after we adopted him. That second picture doesn’t completely reflect how much hair Rusty has.


  2. Love hearing about how you and Rusty found each other. It was meant to be.

    Such a clever cat. Even his naughty antics are just too cute. Is it just me or does Rusty look slightly guilty in that pic with the broken mug?

    Awww. A treat from me too please.

    An early Happy New Year to the three of you!


  3. Glad to hear that Rusty is a fruit eater and an occasional spider hunter! He does look like a Maine Coon cat or maybe he has some Ragdoll cat blood? They have the dead weight trick down apparently, though I’ve never met a Ragdoll.

    Our girl Charcoal is a seaweed eater, loves Nori more than anything else and will “cat beg” for pieces of it. She also adores coffee and will drink it out of mugs if not supervised. Spiders too are a gourmet item. She stalks and eats them, so that we have a spider free house now. This is one of the unmentioned benefits of cat co-existence.


    • I knew a cat who liked coffee but Rusty only sniffs it but doesn’t try to drink. I wouldn’t be surprised if he liked seaweed (we didn’t try giving it to him yet).

      I really appreciate that Rusty hunts spiders: I refuse to share my house with them!


  4. Clearly Rusty was bound for modelling greatness from the beginning. I won’t say aww, but instead, “fruit please!”
    Wishing you, the vSO and Rusty all the best in the New Year.


  5. Those paws, those PAWS!!! That kitten face!!! The kitten stretch! The love of fruit (like my Hairy German), the flooooofy tail, the overall fuzzywuzziness, the peering, questioning gaze in a few shots, and, again, that absolutely fantastic kitten photo!

    *collapses into a gurgling heap at the cuteness overload, lifts head to weakly say the ‘Awwwwwww’ codeword, then collapses again*


  6. What a great story, Rusty has certainly found a good life!
    My cat loves raw vegetables and queues up with the dogs for offcuts of cabbage and asparagus…much noisy crunching ensues!

    I’d better not Aaawww in case Rusty gets fat…extra New Year cuddles to him!


    • Thank you, Jackie. Rusty gets a lot of love now when I have some vacation days.
      I think that your example with vegetables just proves that (at least some) cats are social eaters. Your cat clearly follows the dogs’ habits.


  7. Undina, there is only one being on Earth who could eclipse you in terms of fabulosity, in my opinion, and that is Rusty. I say that with the hope that you both will have a delightful treat on me, so to speak. :)

    Loved hearing his history, and that picture of him as a kitten is too darling for words. <3


    • Thank you, dear Suzanne. Rusty will get his treats over the holidays. And I’ll get something as well (I still have to decide if I should go for something food-related or to treat myself to some perfume ;) ).


  8. Awwwww and double awwwww. Just so you know, Rusty made me say it twice since some of HIS biggest fans don’t want him to get fat but he claims he is NOT FAT and will use his paws of doom to smack anyone who thinks he’s fat.

    I love your story about getting Rusty!

    Now as to his cat bed, the color complements his (not fat) body but I won’t tell him that it’s really a (shhhhh puppy) bed disguised as a cat bed :-). At least it is animal-appropriate. My sister once mistakenly bought a dog’s chew toy that looks like a snowman and gave it to my niece (not her child) as one of her Christmas presents for her to play with; my sister was horrified when I told her what she just did!


  9. Love the story, and Awwww, treat to Rusty from me too:-) I’ve been thinking of you and Rusty lately, since while I am waiting for my bathroom to be finished at my flat, I live with a friend who had to take in a 4-5 month old orange/ginger cat, originally just for a period while her owners were in hospital. She’s incredibly cute and already best friends with the other cats, and now it will be devastating parting from her. Happy New Year to you all.


  10. We apparently share a love for male orange cats. Like you, we got ours (or rather, he picked us) from the shelter when he was about two. By now he is seven. Manneman TsoTso, as the boys named him, is the best cat we’ve ever had – such a character! Great post – and that kitten photo is priceless! Happy New Year!


  11. We have a fancy toilet brush holder shaped like a sleek white cat. The other day, my hubby was playing with out cat, Maxamilliam, and Max jumped off the wall and knocked over the porcelain kitty, breaking off its head. One cat broke the other one. We replaced the toilet brush holder.


    • As a housewarming present our friends gave us a whimsical cat statue with a long neck. Rusty managed to break its head two times already. I plan to try fixing it one more time but if he really hates it – so be it.


  12. Rusty couldn’t be cuter, and he looks especially regal enjoying his new bed (although I think your idea for tricking him into liking it was very clever – my cats have always wanted to sit wherever I have been sitting).

    Have you ever thought of having more than one cat at a time?


  13. I absolutely adore this post! So many lovely touches, like your vSO thoughtfully retiring his mug until you finally got a replacement -thanks to his continuing thoughtfulness, all the little detail of Rusty’s behaviour and habits – the fruit fixation! And I can easily understand his adopting of a ‘dead weight’ posture – that is a great way to put it, and most cats I have ever known have done something similar – often when travel to the vet’s was in the offing.


  14. Such a very, very cute pusscat.

    (Please don’t mention t-r-e-a-t-s because our puss is on a d-i-e-t and she is putting Oliver Twist to shame.)

    cheerio, Anna in Edinburgh


    • Happy New Year to you too, Steve!

      Luckily for me, Rusty is a creature of habit: once he accepts/learns something he sticks to it (I wonder, who he got it from? ;) ). His bed is hidden away during the day and he gets it after the night meal (he actually demands it after he’s done eating) and then he sleeps in it through the night.


  15. Pingback: Orange Cats in My Life – Part… X*: Rusty turns 10 – Undina's Looking Glass

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